Tonya Vinas, Director of Content Strategy
What does it mean to have an on-demand content model? More people are asking this question as the line between how we consume personal content and professional content gets blurrier.
Anyone with a smart phone can understand why. We catch up on our favorite T.V. shows and movies while we wait in line. We have access to millions of free videos, podcasts and other posts when we want to learn something new. We set up alerts for our products, appointments, investments, accounts, faves, family and friends.
In this context, growing buyer expectations for personalized and user-pulled content experiences don’t seem out of whack, but for some marketing teams, delivering those experiences could be out of scope.
Mobility is changing how buyers use content
Mobility has rapidly influenced content consumption in a relatively short period of time. According to a late-2017 BCG report, 70% of B2B byers increased mobile usage significantly over the past two to three years, and 60% said they will continue to increase mobile usage. This trend has driven up demand for mobile-inherent and mobile-responsive content formats as well as for any device-anytime-anyplace access to me-focused content. If these elements are not among your content library and distribution channels, you could have a big gap in connecting to buyers.
“The Netflix effect is about impatience,” said Mark Bornstein, Vice President of Content Strategy of ON24 during a panel discussion at B2BMX, The Netflix Effect on B2B Buyer Engagement. “Buyers are sick of having to hunt for the content they want. Helping is selling, and we’re not helping enough. We need to give buyers content experiences based on what they need and not what we want to tell them. When you think about the marketing infrastructure we’ve built, we aren’t really built for that.”
This doesn’t mean that traditional content—white papers, eBooks, brochures, webinars—don’t work anymore, or that anyone should nix their nurture campaigns. What it does mean is that we need to do more. We need to be more purposeful about planning mobile-first content and user-driven content paths that also align with marketing goals.
Start planning for more on-demand experiences now
You don’t have to redo everything. You can start small and build up a variety of formats, channels and applications. Take a look at these suggestions and choose one or more that fits best with your needs and resources right now, and then plan for a continued effort to build up your on-demand strategy.
- Use more videos. Video is an inherently cross-device format, so you can make one video and use it in multiple places and in multiple ways. Video also works for any audience and most topics. We recently worked with an industrial equipment manufacturer to make a multi-video portfolio covering a specific product line, opportunities for distributor education, safety engineering, sourcing practices and even the role their products play in bringing goods to families every day.
- Create a podcast series. Podcasts are hot, and 64% of B2B buyers prefer to experience them at the top of the funnel, according to Demand Gen Report’s 2018 Content Preferences Survey Report. With a podcast series like this one, which we helped our client create, buyers can consume the podcasts according to their own preferences and time schedule. They don’t have to wait for another to be produced and emailed before continuing to consume; or, conversely, they can pick up the series anytime and anyplace as long as they have a smart phone without even opening an inbox.
- Use more interactive content formats: Listicles (interactive lists like this) and customized experiences can be a means of presenting a lot of related content in a “batched” format in one, easy-to-navigate place. Users can zero in on priority information, bookmark the experience, and then return later to continue their review or reference. One benefit of these types of formats is that they can include multiple CTAs if desired, which can be used to suggest further content for review.
They also can be used to track user behavior by documenting digital footprints. Many of our clients like to use Uberflip because of its user-tracking capabilities. This tracking will be a key factor for making user-driven content experiences more effective as you create more of them because the data informs what to offer for continued consumption that satisfies me-focused buyers but also pushes them closer to qualification or a transaction. If, for example, you have an assessment within a nurture program that has low usage, putting it on a hub could provide insight into how to increase usage. Perhaps it is timed wrong in the nurture and should be in a prior or later buyer stage, something you could ascertain by observing what users viewed or did before and after participating in the assessment on a hub.
Use solutions and tools designed for on-demand consumption. Another advantage of Uberflip is that it enables the easy creation of content hubs, which are perfect for on-demand experiences for both internal and external audiences. But, Uberflip also allows for creation of private streams of content based on the hub, called Sales Streams. On24 and LookBookHQ also are leaders here, as they are designed specifically for organization, presentation and tracking of on-demand content. We can help marketing teams use these solutions, too.
Conclusion: Do more to get more
Building a Netflix-like experience doesn’t require ditching all of the work your team has already done. But adding some new formats to your portfolio and architecting good on-demand experiences takes planning and execution. The reward is that your content will get more views, and more viewers will progress further down the sales journey.
We can help with any aspect of your efforts, whether you’re just getting started or need an audit to determine how to improve on what you’ve already done. Please reach out to Tonya Vinas for any questions!